Harvesting votes

My riding keeps making the news — it’s been a swing seat the last few rounds, the Liberal candidate is Pierre Trudeau‘s son, and the francophone press has (understandably) been pretty critical of the Conservative candidate since he can’t really speak French. It’s also interesting as Canada’s smallest federal riding (i.e., the most densely populated, since by design they pretty much all have the same population), and according to the 2006 census it has the lowest average family income in Canada. This is largely explained by the fact that the riding has one of the highest proportion of voters born outside Canada (40%), since it covers the large new-immigrant ghetto of Parc-Extension, although the part I live in is mostly old-stock (“pure laine”) francophone Quebecers. (Mother tongue distribution: 45% French, 8% English, 47% other (mostly Spanish, Italian, Greek, Arabic, and various languages from India and the surrounding area).)

In recent history, this riding has been a race between the Liberals and the Bloc, and is currently held by Bloc heavyweight Vivian Barbot. Justin Trudeau has been attempting to get by on star power and a weird introductory video in franglais on his website that people have had a hard time taking seriously. I mean, I love franglais; it’s been declared the official language of our marching band, and it’s the de facto common language of most parties I go to here, but just because many comedians speak it fluently doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for an official campaign website. It may be hard to appreciate how silly this is if you don’t understand both French and English but to give you an idea Sh. says it’s even funnier than the parodies people have made in response. It’s also worth pointing out that Trudeau, as a tireless campaigner for strong federalism and universal bilingualism, was widely despised by many old-stock francophone Quebecers, meaning they will likely come out in force to vote against his son. On the other hand, Barbot has a long history in the Quebec labour and women’s rights movements, and as the first MP of Haitian origin is popular amongst the sizable Haitian community in the St-Michel neighbourhood just to my east.

So all of this tells me that I’m not expecting a Liberal win here, all the emotional tributes to Justin Trudeau I’ve seen online from people in English Canada notwithstanding. Sorry, Justin, you should have run in Ontario where the baby boomers who kept your father in power for eleven years might have voted for you out of nostalgia.

In keeping with our fall tradition, Sh. and I canned tomatoes today; we produced 23 litres of tomato sauce from a bushel of tomatoes, and also roasted half a bushel of red peppers which we’ll freeze. We plan to make hot pepper jelly from our pepper plants, dry other peppers for grinding into powder, and to can a second bushel of tomatoes sometime in the coming weeks. Plus, we had dinner with some of the last of the chard from our garden, I made bread dough, and now Sh.’s baking a cake. Not a bad haul. Tomorrow Sh. leaves on a trip for a few days with a friend, so I’m glad we had a day together first. And the cooler days will feel much better now that we know we’re prepared for them.